Inexpensive, compact and easy to use - these advantages of smartphones over mobile data capture devices (MDCs) convince many professional users. But is this assessment still true?
A few years ago, MDCs were still exclusively focused on barcode scanning and manual data entry. Compared to small and light smartphones, handling took some getting used to, and common apps for communication and information could only be used to a limited extent. Especially in areas with lower demands on robustness and scanning performance, smartphones thus became more and more widespread. Currently, however, the trend is moving in the other direction again for two reasons.
Total Cost of Ownership
The low-cost smartphones mentioned at the outset prove to be cost-intensive in the long run. Points frequently mentioned by our prospects and customers are:
- Short availability: If a device fails after 1 or 2 years due to wear and tear or damage, it cannot simply be replaced with an identical model.
- Lack of protection: The excellent protection of smartphones against water and dust is not transferable to drops and impacts. Damage leads to longer downtimes and sometimes high repair costs.
- Small selection of accessories: Accessories suitable for professional use are only available for individual device models and are not compatible with other models. The selection is limited to protective covers and scan attachments. Holsters, handles and multiple charging stations are hard to find.
- Complex administration: The simultaneous use of different device and operating system versions makes administration and maintenance difficult. High administrative workload of IT staff due to failure frequency leads to bottlenecks.
- In the long run, smartphones are up to 30% more expensive to operate.
New MDC generation
The latest MDEs continue to offer all the familiar advantages such as high robustness, long availability and strong scanning performance. But the devices now called "mobile computers" can do much more:
- Compact and light: some models are hardly distinguishable from a smartphone at first glance. And with touch displays up to 6 inches in size, they are just as easy to use.
- Up-to-date hardware: Powerful processors, cameras and GPS now enable the use of all common apps for communication, information and documentation. With 5G, the devices are also suitable for use in private networks (= company-internal LAN networks of the providers) and Industry 4.0 applications.
- Up-to-date operating systems: The devices are not only delivered with the latest Android versions. Many of our manufacturers guarantee security updates and upgrades for several years, far longer than leading smartphone manufacturers.
- Targeted additional services: From services to special apps, numerous extensions for professional use are available for mobile computers.